Category Archives: Allergies

Seasonal Allergies in Dogs-4 Signs

Our dogs are just as susceptible to environmentally triggered allergies—they just can’t tell us how they feel. Seasonal allergies are a huge problem in veterinary medicine. Because allergies in dogs are so common, there’s a good chance your dog could be suffering. Here is a list of signs your pet may have seasonal allergies.

1. Scratching and Biting

One of the most common symptoms people bring in their pets for is itchiness. Dogs often react bys cratching or biting themselves to relieve the itching. They are just scratching like crazy, and their skin is red and inflamed.

While the best thing to do if your dog is scratching or biting is take him to the vet, a bath using mild shampoo can offer temporary relief. If the allergy is related to trees, pollen, or grass, then that can help wash these triggers off of them.

2. Inflamed and Infected Skin

One of the more serious side effects of allergies in dogs is a skin infection, which is usually related to chronic scratching. Most pets develop red, itchy skin and secondary skin infections.

A trip to a veterinarian is a good idea, but in the meantime, clean your dog’s skin with witch hazel, which is “soothing and drying,” applying cool green or black tea bags to the skin, or moisturizing with coconut oil. If the infection has a very bad odor or the pet is lethargic, lacks appetite, or is not clearing within 48 hours, a trip to the veterinarian is warranted.

3. Excessive Shedding

Also related to allergy-induced itching and skin infection is “hair loss and increased shedding.” Dandruff is also a common side effect of allergies, since they can severely dry out the skin and cause it to flake.

If your dog is scratching enough to prompt hair loss, it’s probably time to take them to the vet. “If your pet is really bothered by this, please talk to your vet,” Truitt stresses. “There are a lot of really good prescription medications that we can start your pet on, and we can put together a plan.

4. Paw Licking

Compulsive paw licking is a common sign of allergies in dogs. “Facial rubbing” is a similar behavior that’s related to histamines, or chemicals in the immune system triggered by allergies.

When dogs have allergies, they push out the histamines and they push them towards their extremities, such as their ears, paws, anal region, or face.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid and CPR

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Food Allergies in Dogs vs. Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog’s daily roll in the grass is causing allergic reactions, such as excessive paw licking and rigorous belly scratching, you may be surprised to learn that he could actually have a food allergy.

While it’s common for dogs to suffer from seasonal allergies to things like the pollen they come in contact with while playing in the yard, there are several types of dog allergies that can manifest themselves in similar ways, said Dr. Sarah Nold, on-staff veterinarian for Trupanion, a Seattle-based insurance company.

“Food allergies and environmental allergies can cause similar symptoms. These symptoms can include itchiness, hair loss, skin infections and ear infections. In addition, there are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. This is why your vet may need to start with diagnostics to first rule out skin mites, fungal infections and endocrine disease, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s,” Nold said.

Dr. Joseph Bartges, a veterinary nutritionist and professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said that seasonal allergies typically occur during certain times of the year while food allergies have no seasonality.

They do overlap, however, and approximately 30 percent of pets with food-responsive disease also have seasonal allergies or allergies to fleas, he said. Many of these allergies present themselves either with skin problems (like itchiness, recurrent infections, ear infections or hair loss) and/or gastrointestinal signs (like vomiting, diarrhea or decreased appetite), he added.

Since many of the signs and symptoms of allergies in dogs are not unique to either type of allergy, treatment may require a bit of educated trial and error to pinpoint the exact cause of your dog’s allergy. A visit to your vet should always be your first step. Here are some general guidelines to help dog owners understand food and seasonal allergies.

Symptoms of Food Allergies

Many owners may not immediately suspect their dog has a food allergy because it can take years for their dog to develop an allergy to the food it is fed everyday. Food hypersensitivity can occur at any age in a dog’s life.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian, says one possible indicator of a food allergy can be the location of the skin problems. “If you notice lesions all over your dog’s body, on the flanks, ribs, hips or knees there’s a big chance it’s a food allergy,” he said.

Other symptoms include recurrent ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea and itchiness that can lead to self trauma such as hair loss, scabs or hot spots (areas that have been repeatedly licked or chewed and have become inflamed). Gastrointestinal issues are usually symptoms that are specifically related to possible food allergies.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Food Allergies

Your vet will likely want to start with a review of your dog’s dietary history. It’s important to include the foods that make up his daily meals as well as any treats. Many dogs are allergic to chicken, dairy, beef, eggs, corn, soy and wheat as well as some of the additives contained in commercial brands of dog food.

Bartges says your vet may suggest eliminating certain proteins and substituting them for a novel protein, or a protein source that the dog has not been exposed to, such as duck, fish or kangaroo. Other options include a hydrolysate diet (where the protein source has been pre-digested to small pieces that are too small for the immune system to recognize), or to a homemade diet of either cooked or raw food.

It can take a few months to see an improvement in your dog’s food allergies, Nold said, but it’s important to diligently stick to the prescribed diet and to completely eliminate any treats and table scraps. Even certain medications can be flavored, Nold said, so make sure to discuss all medications your dog may be taking with your veterinarian to ensure they’re an approved part of the diet.

If your dog does well and shows no signs of an allergic reaction, you can gradually add in other kinds of food. But if he shows no sign of improvement, regardless of the food source, it may be time to consider that he could be suffering from a seasonal allergy.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies generally occur at certain times of the year. Some of the common causes of seasonal allergies include dust, dust mites, pollen, grass and flea bites. Mahaney said that lesions on the top or underside of your dog’s feet often point to environmental allergies.

Your dog’s climate and environment can have a major impact on if they have seasonal allergies or not, he said. “In Los Angeles, for instance, it’s always warm, so things are blooming year round which can expose your dog to more allergies. But in New Jersey, things bloom in the spring, then they’re gone in the winter.”

Regardless of where your dog lives, it’s still possible for him to develop year-round allergies.

“Allergies can occur at certain times of the year, but they can turn into year-round allergies for older dogs. The more your dog is exposed to the allergens he’s sensitive to, the more intense and long-lasting his allergic response becomes,” Nold said.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Seasonal Allergie

There are a number of ways that seasonal allergies can be diagnosed and treated, most of which depend on the allergen itself. These include:

  • Testing: an intradermal skin test, in which a small amount of test allergens are injected under your dog’s skin, can help pinpoint the problem of moderate to severe allergies. Allergens are identified by which injections cause redness, swelling or small hives. Your vet can then create a specialized serum or immunotherapy shot which can be administered at home or in your vet’s office. Nold says 70 percent of dogs have good results after a year of shots.
  • Fatty acids: omega-3 fatty acid supplements like fish oil can help reinforce the skin’s barrier, reduce inflammation, and can be helpful for all types of allergies in addition to chronic issues including skin, joint and cardiac problems.
  • Antihistamines: the same over the counter antihistamines that people take can be given to dogs to help reduce itching. Depending on the dog and his condition, however, it can take some time and effort to find the right one. “I’ve seen owners give their dog Benadryl because it helped their friend’s dog, but it won’t be affective if your dog has developed a secondary skin infection,” Nold said. “It’s always a good idea to consult with your vet before giving your dog over the counter drugs so you don’t make things worse.”
  • Steroids: dogs who are severely itchy and uncomfortable may need a steroid, which can quickly reduce itching. But owners should be aware that there are increased side effects of steroid medication, such as high blood pressure and kidney disease. Your dog should receive regular blood and urine testing if he is taking steroids on a long-term basis.
  • Antibiotics: Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if your dog’s constant licking, chewing or rubbing has created a secondary skin infection. His skin may look red and inflamed or have a circular bald patch with a crusty edge.
  • Environmental control: Mahaney said simple things like preventing your dog from making contact with known irritants can go a long way toward providing relief. “Don’t let your dog go on specific surfaces that irritate him like grass. You may have to make a lifestyle change. If you can’t rip out your grass, try putting boots on your dog. Or give him a localized footbath or a cleansing foot wipe down. It may also be a good idea to keep your dog on a regular bathing schedule which can help remove abnormal bacteria,” he said.
  • Flea control and prevention: It’s common for dogs to have an allergic reaction to flea saliva, which can cause itchy spots and red bumps toward the back end of his body. Ridding your dog of a pesky flea infestation can be a difficult task. Make sure to apply flea preventative medication as directed by your veterinarian, as improper use of flea and tick medication can result in an infestation. Other ways to help keep the flea population down include regularly vacuuming carpeted surfaces, using a flea comb and washing your dog’s bedding weekly with hypoallergenic, non-toxic detergents instead of household cleaners that may contain chemicals.

Overall, getting to the root of your dog’s allergy can take a bit of educated detective work. The most important thing is to seek help from your vet and not to get discouraged with the process.

“It can be frustrating if something isn’t working [but] there’s always something else we can try,” Nold said. “It might seem like you didn’t accomplish anything, but your dog’s response to therapy is helpful in determining the next step. We can find a plan to help your pet.”

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Flea Bites on Dogs: Allergy Dermatitis

Understanding Canine Flea Allergies

Fleas are nasty little critters that make life miserable for your dog and for you. First there are the bites that hurt and then itch and itch. Then there is the problem of keeping your home environment and your pet insect-free. But here’s one more reason to hate fleas: They can really do a number on your pet if he is allergic to flea bites by causing another itchy problem called dermatitis.

Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common allergy in dogs and is caused by fleabites, specifically the saliva of the flea. It is a very itchy disease and predisposes to the development of secondary skin infections.

Oddly enough, most animals with flea allergy have very few fleas. The reason is that they are very itchy and they groom themselves excessively eliminating any evidence of fleas. A couple of fleabites every two weeks are sufficient to make a flea allergic dog itchy all the time. Any animal can become allergic to fleas, although some dogs are more attractive to fleas than others. Fleas are bloodsucking insects with a lifespan of 6 to 12 months. This life span is influenced by environmental conditions And can vary from two to three weeks up to a year. Optimal conditions include humidity of 75 to 85 percent and temperature of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is more important than the temperature. The adult flea spends most of its life on the host, while the immature stages (eggs) are found in the environment.

In dogs, common signs of a flea allergy are chewing and biting of the tail, rump and back legs. Sometimes they chew their front legs and cause oozing lesions (lick granuloma). In fact, the itching may be so intense that the animal will cause severe skin damage in a short period of time (“hot spot”). These are usually found on the hip area or on the side of the face.

Diagnosis of Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs:

Diagnosis of flea allergy is made based on history, clinical signs and a positive skin test.

Treatment of Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs

Treatment of flea allergy dermatitis involves three phases:

  • Prevention of flea bites. The most important part of treatment is preventing flea bites with aggressive flea control on your dog and in the environment.
  • Treatment of secondary skin infections. Antibiotics and antifungal drugs may be necessary to treat secondary skin infections triggered by the flea allergy.
  • Breaking the itch cycle. If your dog is intensely itchy, a short course of steroids may be necessary to break the itch cycle and make your dog more comfortable.

Preventative Care

Use an effective safe flea control product on your dog on a regular basis beginning one month before the flea season starts and continuing up until one month after the flea season ends.

Use frequent vacuuming and carpet cleaning strategies to remove eggs and larvae from the dog’s indoor environment. Use a professional cleaning or exterminating service in difficult cases.

Use appropriate yard maintenance especially in shaded areas preferred by your dog. Immature stages of fleas are sensitive to dryness and heat. They die in sunny areas. Trim trees and rake away all the debris. Keep the grass trimmed short. Fleas survive only if there are enough animals to support them, so one dog roaming a one-acre yard would not pose a problem.

See your veterinarian promptly if your dog develops acute skin lesions (acute moist dermatitis) as a result of biting or scratching at fleas. Frequent grooming of your dog with a “flea comb” may be helpful to remove fleas.

To learn more about flea allergy, please click on Flea Allergy Dermatitis In-depth.

  • Flea allergy dermatitis, caused by fleabites, is the most common allergy in dogs.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Worried About Allergies in Children, Get a Dog or Cat.

Allergies in kids may be prevented by getting a dog or cat.

When I was in college, I worked summers at a pediatrician’s office answering phones. I sustained a lot of verbal abuse from stressed out parents in those months; the type of experience that forever made me appreciate my own front desk staff down the line. None of that bothered me, however, nearly as much as it did when people callously tossed off reasons they no longer had a dog or cat.

People have lots of terrible excuses for getting rid of the family pet when they are expecting a child: “I don’t have time any more,” or “I’m worried about Toxoplasmosis,” or, “I can’t afford a dog AND a child.”

Ask any shelter employee in the relinquishment department and they will have their own frustrating contributions to add. But as of this week, people looking to shirk their responsibilities may be down one excuse: the fear that pets increase the likelihood of allergies.

According to an article published September 3 in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, infants who shared a household with a furry pet also shared their gut bacteria, a species-specific form of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacteria family. When those infants and a control group of infants without pets were tested for allergies at six months of age, none of the babies who tested positive for common allergens such as cow’s milk, grass, banana, and dog dander had those bacteria in their system.

It’s not the first time research has linked more allergens with fewer allergies. Previous studies also suggest that children exposed to dog dander have less reactivity to airborne allergens, which probably means my kids have lungs of steel by this point. While scientists have tried to pinpoint the exact mechanism behind this, “germ theory” suggests that early exposure to bacteria confers a protective effect on the immune system. This study builds on that by correlating pet ownership with both beneficial gut bacteria and a positive health outcome, at least at six months of age.

We have a ways to go before doctors prescribe dogs as a preventive measure to pregnant women with a history of allergies, but we’re also moving away from those same women being encouraged to relinquish those pets. Regardless of the overall effect, the study authors are confident that avoiding pets does not prevent the onset of allergic disease.

I don’t mean to imply that there are no cases in which someone must make the agonizing decision to rehome a pet due to severe allergic disease; it can and does happen, and people should still trust the advice of their medical professionals. On the other hand, for the rest of us out there who wonder if a pet is an automatic allergy sentence, there’s hope: dogs and cats.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372


Seasonal Allergies in Pets Peak in August

It’s no secret that allergies hit humans hard in the spring, but did you know your pets are affected by allergies at a different time of the year? Our data shows that pet allergies peak in late summer—specifically August. The combination of allergic responses with the increase in dry, warm temperatures adds to the discomfort and expression of seasonal allergies.

Pets can be allergic to almost all of the same allergens as people—even pet dander. Some breeds are more prone to allergens than others, especially flat-faced breeds. According to our data, English bulldogs, French bulldogs, and West Highland White Terriers top the list for dogs.

Allergy symptoms in pets are similar to human symptoms, they include itchy or irritated skin, eyes, nose, or ears, coughing or sneezing, and a swollen throat or paws. Keep an eye out for excessive licking or chewing and take your pet to the veterinarian if they start to show symptoms.

There are many things you can do to relieve your pet of allergy symptoms and your veterinarian can provide the best options for your pet. Our on staff veterinarian, Denise Petryk, DVM, suggests not to give your pet any over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian. “To help your pet at home, give them frequent baths to remove any surface allergens from their coat and skin, wash their paws to prevent them from tracking allergens into the home, and keep the areas where your pet frequently resides as allergen-free as possible by cleaning the space often.”

Trupanion Monthly Newsletter August 2015

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372

Dogs With Allergies; Cats With Allergies

There are few things worse than an itchy dog or cat — so uncomfortable, constantly licking and chewing at his paws and flanks, and rubbing his face on the sofa or carpet to try to relieve the discomfort.   Dog skin allergies are just miserable.

Allergies are one of the more common problems I see in pets, and according to data from pet HEALTH INSURANCE companies, it’s the No. 1 medical condition that dog owners seektreatment for. My own Gracie, a Lab-Pit Bull mix, is one of the sufferers.

The incidence of pets afflicted with allergies varies throughout the country and is often related to climate or season. Common causes of allergic reactions are flea bites; pollens, molds, grasses, trees, weeds, dust and DUST MITES; and certain food ingredients.  Dog food allergies are common.

Identifying Allergies

Some pets are extremely allergic to flea saliva and have a condition called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). When fleas bite these pets,  flea saliva gets into the animal’s bloodstream, causing an allergic reaction. The bite of a single flea can send some sensitive pets into a scratching, licking or chewing frenzy.  Dog skin allergies aren’t fun.

Dogs with FAD are usually itchy on the back half or third of the body. Cats often have crusty areas around the head and neck, but the back half of the body can also be itchy.

Dust, mold and pollen are environmental allergens. They typically occur only at certain times of the year, depending on what’s in bloom or particular climate conditions, and they often cause seasonal itching. Your veterinarian may refer to this type of ALLERGY as an inhalant allergy or atopic dermatitis.

Finally, some pets develop ALLERGIES to certain proteins such as beef, chicken or soy. Dogs with food allergies typically experience itching all year long, and some may have gastrointestinal signs.

Diagnose the Itch

Sometimes veterinarians know from an examination or a pet’s medical HISTORY what’s causing the itchiness. We see flea dirt, for instance, or the scratching is seasonal, suggesting that environmental allergens may be the problem.

When Your Cat Has Allergies

When we don’t have any clues, though, diagnosing allergies is a process of elimination. We make sure the pet is on a good flea-control program; we do skin scrapings to check for other possible parasites. We also look for bacterial or YEAST INFECTIONS, which can contribute to itchiness in dogs and cats with allergies; and we may even start the pet on an elimination diet to rule out food allergies.

When we suspect a  food allergy, we may recommend feeding a food that contains only ingredients the pet has never eaten before. This elimination diet can help determine if a particular ingredient is causing a pet’s itching and scratching. If the signs go away after 12 weeks of feeding only the hypoallergenic diet (no treats or other foods that might contain allergenic substances), we start to add ingredients back into THE DIET one by one until it’s clear which one is causing the problem. Then it’s just a matter of finding a food for your pet that doesn’t contain the dietary troublemaker.

If the itching stops, we know we’re doing something right, but we still have to figure out what’s actually causing the problem. In the case of fleas, your pet may need a different flea preventive more suited to his lifestyle. For instance, water-loving dogs who spend every day in the pool may have poor results with topical treatments, even if the substance is water resistant. In those cases, we may suggest an oral product that works more rapidly. If you are applying or giving the product only when you see fleas, we’ll probably advise that you use it more regularly, even if you don’t see evidence of fleas.

Whatever you’re using, make sure it’s appropriate for your pet. Many products that are safe for dogs aren’t safe at all for cats. Especially if you have both a dog and a cat, read the label carefully before you give anything to make sure you haven’t accidentally picked up the wrong product.

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372

5 Best Treatments For Your Pet’s Allergies

Now that you are aware of the clinical signs of allergies in pets, here are my top recommendations for alleviating your canine or feline companion’s symptoms.
 Take your pet to the vet — Since there are so many conditions that can appear clinically similar to allergies, having your veterinarian examine your pet is an important first step. Diagnostics, including skin impression smear and scraping, blood testing, and others may be needed to determine the nature of the condition and the most appropriate treatments.
 Bathing and topical treatments — Cleaning your pet’s skin surface and hair coat using a pet-appropriate shampoo helps remove environmental allergens, bacteria, oil, and other irritating substances. Full-body bathing or localized cleansing can be performed on a twice daily or daily basis depending on your pet’s needs. My general recommendation for pets suffering from environmental allergies is to be bathed on an every seven day or more frequent basis if needed. Besides shampooing, a leave-on-conditioner or veterinary-prescribed topical treatment can help to manage your pet’s general or localized skin irritation and infection.
 Eye rinses — Applying a few drops of eye irrigating solution, just like that which you would use in your own eyes and can purchase from a human pharmacy, is one of the simplest means of removing allergens from your pet’s eyes. Doing so every morning, afternoon, and evening for 24 to 48 hours can help lend perspective on whether your pet’s problem is simply mild environmental inflammation or merits evaluation by your veterinarian. Eyedrops or eye ointment containing an antibiotic, steroid, or other drugs may be called for.
 Ear cleaning — Allergens, broken hairs, microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, mites, etc.), and other substances can all get stuck in your pet’s ear canals. Gently irrigating (flushing) the ear canals with a pet-appropriate ear cleaning solution removes these offensive materials and modifies the pH and microenvironment of the ear canal to deter microorganism growth. Additionally, plucking the hair from the ear canal and inner flap prevents accumulation of environmental allergens that can irritate the ear canal and promote the growth of microorganisms. If your pet is a swimmer, sprinkler-diver, or is frequently bathed, then irritating the ears post-watery activity can help ensure that moisture doesn’t linger in the canals.
 Dietary modification and nutraceuticals — Skin allergies can correlate with our environment and with food components (protein, carbohydrates, fat, etc.). Therefore, it is vital that owners consider changing their allergy-prone pet’s diet as part of a food elimination trial. Novel proteins and carbohydrates (those your pet has not previously consumed) should be chosen and vigilance must be employed to prevent your cat or dog from consuming other food sources (non-approved human foods and pet treats, etc.) that could negatively impact the trial by causing an allergic flare up. Truly, it’s so important to not cheat on your pet’s food elimination trial. Additionally, I suggest diets that are human-grade and whole-food, as feed-grade ingredients in kibble or canned pet foods can potentially contain undesirable contaminants that could sicken your pet on a short- or long-term basis, or further contribute to allergies. Nutraceuticals like fish oil derived Omega-3 fatty acids have a natural anti-inflammatory effect and promote healthy lipid layers in the skin to permit the body’s defenses toward microorganisms and allergens.
 As there are so many connections between allergens and the variety of clinical signs our pets may exhibit, it’s important that owners recognize the signs and work with their veterinarians to help ensure that minimal discomfort is experienced and the most rapid resolution is achieved.
 Does your pet suffer from seasonal or non-seasonal allergies? If so, what kind and how do you manage the multi-faceted issues?        Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372


Skin Inflammation Due to Allergies (Atopy) in Dogs

 Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy) in Dogs

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease associated with allergies. In fact, this is the second most common allergic skin disease in dogs. These allergic reactions can be brought on by normally harmless substances like grass, mold spores, house dust mites, and other environmental allergens.
Dogs normally show signs of the disease between 3 months and 6 years of age, though atopic dermatitis can be so mild the first year that it does not become clinically apparent before the third year.
Despite the fact dogs are more prone to atopic dermatitis than cats, it does occur in felines. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
Often symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis progressively worsen with time, though they become more apparent during certain seasons. The most commonly affected areas in dogs include the:
  • Ears
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Muzzle
  • Underarms
  • Groin
  • Around the eyes
  • In between the toes
The signs associated with atopic dermatitis, meanwhile, consist of itching, scratching, rubbing, and licking, especially around the face, paws, and underarms.
Early onset is often associated with a family history of skin allergies. This may lead the dog to become more susceptible to allergens such as:
  • Animal danders
  • Airborne pollens (grasses, weeds, trees, etc.)
  • Mold spores (indoor and outdoor)
  • House dust mite
Your veterinarian will want a complete medical history to determine the underlying cause of the skin allergies, including a physical examination of the dog.
Serologic allergy testing may be performed, but it does not always have reliable results. The quality of this kind of testing often depends on the laboratory which analyzes the results. Intradermal testing, whereby small amounts of test allergens are injected in the skin and wheal (a red bump) response is measured, may also used to identify the cause of your pet’s allergic reaction.
The treatment will depend on what is causing your pet’s allergic reaction. If the reaction is due to atopy, for example, hyposensitization therapy can be performed. Your veterinarian will give your pet injections of the allergens to which it is sensitive. This decreases itchiness in 60 to 80 percent of dogs, but may approximately take six months to a year to see an improvement.
Medicines such as corticosteroids and antihistamines can also be given to control or reduce itching. Cyclosporine is effective in controlling itching associated with long-term skin allergies, while sprays can be used over large body surfaces to control itching with minimal side effects.
Living and Management
Unfortunately, atopic dermatitis only rarely goes into remission or spontaneously resolves. However, bathing your dog in cool water with anti-itch shampoos may help your alleviate its symptoms.
Once treatment has begun, your veterinarian must see the dog every 2 to 8 weeks to ascertain the effectiveness of the treatment and to check for drug interactions. Then, as your pet’s itching becomes well controlled, it will need to be brought into the veterinarian’s office every 3 to 12 months for checkups.
If your veterinarian should find the trigger for your pet’s allergies, he or she will advise you as to how to best avoid those type of allergens.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372


Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs

Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common allergy in dogs and is caused by flea bites, specifically the saliva of the flea. It is a very itchy disease and predisposes to the development of secondary skin infections.
Oddly enough, most animals with flea allergy have very few fleas – because they are so itchy, they groom themselves excessively, eliminating any evidence of fleas. However, a couple of flea bites every two weeks are sufficient to make a flea allergic dog itchy all the time. Any animal can become allergic to fleas, although some dogs are more attractive to fleas than others.
Fleas are bloodsucking insects with a life span of 6 to 12 months. This life span is influenced by environmental conditions and can vary from two to three weeks up to a year. Optimal conditions include humidity of 75 to 85 percent and temperature of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is more important than the temperature. The adult flea spends most of its life on the host, while the immature stages (eggs) are found in the environment.
What to Watch For
  • Severe itching
  • Chewing and biting of the tail, rump, back legs and occasionally front legs
  • Oozing lesions (lick granuloma) from chewing
  • Hot spots on the hips or face, which is severe skin damage from scratching
  • dogs with flea allergies typically have hair loss and itchiness around the area of the rump (tail base).
  • Adult fleas spent all their life on the host. In this picture several Ctenocephalides felis (the most common flea of dogs) are present on the animal.             By: Dr. Rosanna Marsalla